Tuesday, October 13, 2009

That was when we lived in a volcano...

In the mid 1970s my father served on a US Navy ship cruising the Mediterranean Sea, which kept him away from home (at that time Norfolk, Virginia) for several years. Unwilling to be apart from him so long, our family twice spent several months camping in Europe, following the ship around.When the ship stayed out at sea for long stretches, my mother would take us (four kids under the age of ten) on very long trips far inland. We got to see a lot of Europe that way, and just as importantly our family was able to spend a lot of time together. The ship spent a fair amount of time near Naples, Italy, so we frequently stayed at a local resort called Solfatara, which was home to a dormant volcano. Most of the time we lived in our 1970 Volkswagen camper, but when Dad could come for a visit, we would move into one of the rental bungalows for a while. There were other Navy families in the campground too, doing exactly what we were doing, and we made friends with the other kids. When we were on the road, we looked forward to getting "home" to Solfatara, and seeing our friends again. The volcano was a wonderful playground- boiling mud, sulfurous fumes, hot rocks, caves. Great stuff for kids to play with! You can look at the place on Google Maps- the view below is a bit off-center, so just click on the link to bring up the webpage. There are some good pictures on the Maps page, under the Panoramio link.The white, bare area is the volcano, and the campground is in the trees just to the north-west.

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